Antisemitic incidents hit record high last year

1,168 incidents took place nationwide in 2014

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The Independent Online

The number of antisemitic incidents reported in the UK reached a record high last year as people reacted to the conflict in Israel and Gaza, according to research published today.

The Community Security Trust (CST), which monitors the extent of antisemitism in Britain, said 1,168 incidents had taken place nationwide in 2014 – more than double the 535 reported in 2013 and the highest annual total since records began in 1984.

In one of the worst incidents, which the charity classified as “extreme violence”, a victim in London was called a “Jewish c**t” and hit with a glass and a baseball bat. There were 81 incidents of physical assault in total, but most involved verbal abuse, hate mail or bullying on social media.

The charity said the sudden upsurge in violence in the Gaza Strip over the summer appeared to be the single biggest contributing factor to the surge in antisemitism. July saw 314 incidents, the highest-ever monthly total, while August saw 228. In 2013 there were only 59 incidents in July and 48 in August.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said the figures were “deeply concerning”. She added: “No one should live in fear because of their beliefs or who they are. I am committed to working with Jewish community leaders and law enforcement to tackle antisemitism. Britain without its Jews would not be Britain.”

Authorities in the UK have been on heightened alert over antisemitism since the terrorist attacks in Paris last month, when an assault on a Jewish supermarket left four people dead.

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, the national police lead for Jewish communities, said that “in recent weeks” officers had observed an increase in reports of antisemitic incidents.

David Delew, CST’s chief executive, added: “The Jewish community should not be defined by antisemitism, but last year’s large increase in recorded incidents shows just how easily anti-Semitic attitudes can erupt into race hate abuse, threats and attacks.”